PARIS (AFP) -- Infections jump sharply outside China. Italy locks down several cities. Stocks tumble on world markets. Here are the latest developments in the new coronavirus crisis.
2,592 dead in China
Mainland China's official death toll hits 2,592, with more than 77,000 people now reported infected.
For the first time since the Cultural Revolution, China postpones its annual parliament session when Communist Party leaders including President Xi Jinping gather to rubber-stamp bills and budgets.
Chinese officials declare an immediate and "comprehensive" ban on the trade and consumption of wild animals.
Alerts in S. Korea, Iran
South Korea emerges as the worst new hotspot outside mainland China.
Some 161 new cases are reported, putting the number of infections to 763 and seven dead. President Moon Jae-in raises the virus alert to the highest "red".
An outbreak cluster in a religious sect in the southern city of Daegu contributes to the recent sharp jump of cases in the country.
In Iran, the confirmed death toll climbs to 12 -- the highest number of fatalities for any country outside China.
Armenia, Turkey, Jordan, Pakistan and Afghanistan close their borders or restrict trade with Iran.
Italy, the country with the most confirmed cases in Europe, reports its seventh death and the number of people contracting the disease continues to mount, with 229 people now testing positive.
Over 50,000 residents in 11 towns are under lockdown -- 10 in the Lombardy region and one in neighbouring Veneto, both in the north of the country.
The spread of the virus disrupts high-profile events including Milan Fashion Week and the Venice Carnival. Serie A football matches have been postponed and operas are cancelled at Milan's La Scala.
World stock markets and oil prices tumble on growing fears from the crisis.
Milan's stock market dives more than five percent and Seoul 3.9 percent.
Elsewhere in Europe, Frankfurt falls 3.7 percent, London loses 3.5 percent, Madrid is down 3.3 percent and Paris sheds 3.8 percent.
Meanwhile, gold hits a seven-year peak as investors turn to the precious metal as a safety measure.
The International Monetary Fund warns the epidemic could put an already fragile global economic recovery at risk.
The outbreak will shave about 0.1 percentage points from global growth and constrain China's growth to 5.6 percent this year, it says. (AFP)